The decision to take a COVID-19 shot did not come easily for me or my husband, Keith. In the months that preceded the finalizing of a shot for this awful virus, we had several discussions about whether we were going to get one when it was available.
Some might wonder why there was any indecision at all. After all, the death count was rising daily, especially among senior adults and the reports of suffering before death or even after recovering were scary.
On the other hand, the fast-tracking of getting a formula and testing it adequately seemed so rushed that we could understand people being skeptical and cautious about the efficacy and the potential for long-term results.
Just so you know, we are not among those who trust conspiracy theories or are easily pulled into all the doubts they promote. But we have seen medicines suddenly pulled from the pharmaceutical markets because of some dangerous side effects. One only need watch a few TV commercials for drugs that have displayed all the warnings about possible side effects. Even death…
For us, the decision to get the shots or not came rather quickly as they rolled out. In January our opportunity came. The Moderna shot was available for us. By then the prospects of how badly actually getting COVID without shots could be versus getting the shot and possibly risking some side effects in the future made our decision easier.
We got our first shots in January and then followed up four weeks later with our second. We have now gone past the two-week window without any side effects. My husband had absolutely none, and I only had a slightly red arm and some itchiness. No real soreness or other symptoms appeared.
Life doesn’t always hand us easy choices. God gave us the ability to make choices — good, bad, or inconsequential — from the very beginning. It isn’t always easy to find good, trustworthy information, yet we have so many resources and can usually track down where information is coming from and how accurate it is, if we’re diligent.
Meanwhile, we will continue to mask up, socially distance ourselves and do our best to help stop the spread of this dreaded virus. We may no longer be at risk, but we continue to never want to be responsible for spreading it to others, even if unintentionally. It’s not a matter of fear; it’s a matter of loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Jeanie McGowan is a retired minister and a member of the Word&Way Board of Trustees.